Citation: Gwaihir. "Solitude in Joshua Tree: An Experience with AMT (exp1761)". Erowid.org. Jun 12, 2000. erowid.org/exp/1761
I awoke to the sound of coyotes howling. The sky to the east was just getting light. It was still cold. I rolled over and fell back asleep instantly, only to be awakened a few minutes later by M who I had told to wake me at dawn the night before. I got up and put on warm clothing. The morning was bitter cold, as early mornings in february in Joshua Tree tend to be. G got up too.
M was making hot chocolate. I ate a bagel while he did this. After finishing the bagel, I swallowed two pills of DL-alpha-methyltryptamine, at approximately 17.5 mg each. I say approximately because I dont know. I started with 50 mg of powder and cut it into three lines of approximately even size on a hard surface, and gelcapped them. I ate two of these gelcaps, saving the third in case I wanted a booster later.
To describe the setting: Joshua Tree National Park, Hidden Valley Campground, Saturday morning, one of the outlying campsites beyond the sheltering rock wall of hidden valley. Set: as of 5:30 am I am a bit groggy (this will soon pass) but have mentally prepared myself for this experience. I am planning to walk off into the desert, to think, to write, to draw. I will return mid afternoon when friends will be becoming bemushroomed, then will most likely walk again with them. G and M and I take a walk and watch the sunrise (although the actual rise of the sun is blocked by a hill (the Comic Book area, for those who know Joshua Tree). Nonetheless, there are very high clouds which turn brilliant pink as the sun lights them from beneath. My hands are freezing cold, but the hot chocolate feels good.
While watching the sunrise (T+30 min or so) I begin to feel it come on. At first it is pure speed. I am jittery, talking nonstop, pacing. Right away I can tell it is going to be hard on my body. Its okay though, I expected it I guess. We walk back to the campsite. I pack some things in my backpack which I think that I will want: my sketching pad and pencils, a notebook, the Psychedelic Experience, some bubbles, water, an orange... This done I say farewell to my two friends and begin to walk east, straight across the desert towards the hill.
It is starting to get a bit psychedelic at this point (T+1 hour?). I am enjoying the stroll. The sun has come up and is beginning to warm me a bit. Things are starting to get just a little bit dreamy. I feel plenty in touch with reality, just not the reality I am used to I guess. I walk to a cluster of rocks about 2/3 of the way to the hill, and decide to stop for a while. I climb atop one of the piles (one of the trademark dome clusters of joshua tree, although not a very large one) and sit, taking in the scenery. I am getting quite high now. My coordination is more than a little bit off. I feel like I have taken a large amount of MDMA, but it doesnt feel quite as good. Visuals are starting now, just a little bit. They arent really coherent. A bit sparkly, I guess... like the visuals I tend to get from an extreme dose of THC. I write for a while, trying to sort parts of my life out in my head, expressing to a friend things I feel that she should know. Eventually I feel like I am finished, and I walk down from my perch.
My motor skills are definately impaired now. My body feels a little shaky, and my jaw is starting to clench. I walk again towards the hill. I get there, and walk through a little ravine carved by water out of rounded quartz monzonite. I have an interesting time exploring the ravine (which I have done once before on a mushroom trip that never manifested.) I walk up the hill in between two much larger piles of domed quartz monzonite. Reaching the top is no problem. I hang out on top for a while, and enjoy the view. My high is getting quite euphoric. I feel very good mentally, although my body is hating me. This stuff doesnt feel dirty like bad acid, it doesnt make your skin crawl or anything, but I feel drugged. I feel cracked out. I can TELL that it is doing bad things to me. My jaw is trembling like crazy when I let it. I have to force it to relax.
It crosses my mind that I am going to vomit, although I am not being particularly bothered by nausea. I find a friendly bush and apologize to it for being about to vomit on it. But then I dont vomit. Instead I just sit by the bush for a minute, thinking how much I need to tell a certain (quite different from previously mentioned) friend how much I respect her, because I dont think she is aware... Later in the day I had a similar thought with yet another friend, a much closer friend that I haven't seen in a long time... I thought that I should write to her and tell her how much she has influenced who I have become... In this respect I guess this chemical is a bit like MDMA... Not that you want to tell people how much you love them, but it makes you realize that you appreciate people in ways that you are not always aware of. It makes you realize the things that you are taking for granted or failing to express... I return to my perch atop the hill and enjoy the view some more, which is just about all of the otherworldly part of Joshua Tree.
From up here one can see clearly from Saddle Rock to Hidden Valley and all of the Wonderland of Rocks (which is an AMAZING place if you've never been there.) I can see Queen Mountain perfectly, as well as the two Astro Domes in the Wonderland, on one of which is a climb that I am planning to do the next day, called Figures on a Landscape. I wonder if I will be too cracked out to do it. I hope not. I've been wanting to do that climb since I started climbing almost four years ago. The clouds (very high layer sort of clouds. cirrus, i guess, but not very feathery) are now moving around a bit in the sky. The visuals are getting a bit acidy, though not as coherent or as smooth. And they're not really flowing very well, just sort of moving a little bit but not really flowing. I feel dreamier and dreamier. I like it out here.
I feel very good sitting on top of this hill. It crosses my mind that I really like being alone. It also occurs to me that I would really like to smoke a bowl, to maybe calm my jitteriness out. I still feel a bit tweaked, but dreamy and a little drowsy too. But restless at the same time. Yawning and fidgeting at the same time. I decide to return to camp and smoke a bowl. I walk back down the hill, being very careful not to take an untimely spill, which seems quite possible. I am noticing some major trails, and also color disturbances quite unlike the ones I get on psilocybin, and totally unlike anything Ive seen on acid. But the patterns are getting more and more acid-like. How to describe the colors..? Hmm... sometimes things will just appear to me to be a color which I know that they are not. Bushes which were gray before are bright blue if I see them out of the corner of my eye. Things like that. Now in the sky appear many tiny tiny tiny circles of all sorts of colors, like little bubbles or ripples but not really either. I dont know how to describe them. But if you put all these little bits of color together (and some are yellow and red and other non-sky colors) somehow you get blue. I dont know how it works, really.
I am still walking back to camp, enjoying exploring various things. The desert floor is full of wonderful flora. I admire the joshua trees, both the fallen ones and the living ones. I admire the way plants lie where they fall for years in the desert, slowly slowly fading back into nothingness. At one point I touch a bit of a fallen joshua tree that has bleached bone white in the sun. To my surprise, it is powder. I pick some up and rub it between my fingers. It seems to be chalk. I wonder where the calcium came from. Is it chalk? I dont know.
I get back to camp eventually. D, K, and T are awake and hanging out, everyone else is gone. K knows that I am tripping, but D and T are unaware. T asks if I am going back to bed. I share a smile with K and answer, oh no, not at all. I refill my water (the other reason I was back at camp) but somehow I forget to smoke a bowl. I ask what time it is. 10:30 I am told. T+5 hours. The trip is still developing. I dont think I'm coming up anymore though. I am more like coming sideways. My motor coordination is getting a bit better. When I was on the first rock I was really jacked. The MDMA like body feeling is going away and I feel more and more cracked out. And my visuals keep getting more and more similar to LSD. They're really starting to flow now. The dreaminess is about where it has been the whole time.
Restocked now I head back into the desert. I find a place in the shade of an isolated monzonite outcropping and begin to draw. I sketch a joshua tree near me, but am disappointed at my lack of sketching skill currently. Instead I just start to freehand draw. I draw a landscape of dark hills in front of a night sky, and at the edges the landscape comes apart into masses of lines. Then an eye appears elsewhere on the page and a face to go along with it. The face is quite afraid. I look at what I have draw! ! n and I wonder where it came fro m. I dont feel in a dark place. I feel very peaceful, other than the restlessness and jaw clench, but that is all body. My mind is in a great mellow place.
I put my pad away and take some notes on the experience so far. While doing this I keep seeing shadows passing over the page on which I am writing, shadows as if from temperature turbulence refracting light, like when you open your car door after its been sitting in the sun on a hot day. But looking around there is nothing to have caused this. No temperature turbulence of any sort. Odd. On the rocks which are casting the shadow in which I sit, I notice many many faces looking back at me. They arent very clear, like they sometimes are on LSD, but they are there. And they are moving.
I walk around some more, exploring, looking at lots of dead stuff. I am intrigued by the processes of decay here. It is beautiful, I note. At times I find myself laughing, and I am glad that I am alone and have not seen a single stranger all day. They might think me mad, laughing to myself in the desert. The thought that I am laughing like a lunatic for no reason makes me laugh harder. It feels good. Laughing is always good therapy. I walk over to another area, called the Hall of Horrors. I see nothing too horrible about it. I sit in the shade and blow bubbles for a while. Then I walk back to my camp and this time I do smoke a bowl. I feel a little bit better. G and M are trying to decide whether or not to become bemushroomed or not. J, C, T, D, and K have decided that they are going to. G decides to go for a quick solo climb and decide. I walk with him for a while, talking about soloing on acid and what it would be like. He solos the Eye on Cyclops Rock while I boulder on the Manx Boulders behind Cyclops Rock. The boulder problems would probably have been too hard for me sober, and while motor-uncoordinated I am unable to succeed on any of them, although I get close on one problem which feels like it would be difficult even sober.
G is still undecided. I tell him that I am having a great time and that it would be cool if he joined, but he is still undecided. We return to camp. The five decided people eat their mushrooms, but G and M decide not to. We six take a walk towards the hill. J and K get the giggles very soon, and walking through the desert becomes more difficult than it should be. But we are having a good time, exploring, looking at stuff, etc... We get quite hot, and want to find shade. That we do eventually, over by the Comic Book. K and I explore a little cave, marvelling at the crystals inside it. Later we sit in the shade and I amuse J with bubbles while she tries to catch them with one soapy finger. C, D, J and I decide to climb the hill while T and K wait below. J just about runs up the hill, (which is probably at least 500' tall) and passes us on the way down. On top, C decides to split off from the group, and D and I walk back down. Back at the bottom, we have decided to return, as the sun is getting low. J walks off ahead, and T and D lag behind, as K and I walk across what has become a very surreal landscape. What grass there is is glowing gold in the last rays of the sun, and the bushes (the grey/blue ones) are all very very blue.
By now the visuals have become totally indistinguishable from acid... faces and fractal patterns dancing on the cliffs, all the grass at my feet arraying itself in radial patterns etc, and absolutely everything dancing and flowing. At one point we see what appears to have been a cluster of five or six joshua trees that have all fallen radially outward from a single point. We talk as we walk, about how good it feels to be walking completely at random around all of these obstacles, about television ('wow, this sky makes me wonder why anyone watches television.' 'lots of things make me wonder why anyone watches television') Eventually we reach camp again. I am still feeling cracked out, although not any better or worse than before. I put on a fleece and walk back aways until I am alone, and watch the sunset which ends up being just as brilliant as the sunrise had been... Clouds in all directions turning quite neon pink, the sky behind deep purplish blue. To the west the clouds catch fire for a while and are almost unbelievably brilliant. Then it dies and the whole sky fades to deep blue. The moon is almost full. We start a fire, and sit around it for a long time talking, laughing, smoking lots of pot. C takes a long long time to get back, and we start to worry, but eventually he shows up, smiling and laughing. Everyone has come down by this point, but I am still going. The pot really eases the comedown, and Im feeling okay, if a little weak and shaky. I still feel that familiar drugged feeling (characteristic of amphetamines, I guess... and their analogues.) By 11:30 everyone but C, T, and I has dropped off. We sit around and I have a couple of beers, hoping it will help me to sleep when I decide its time. C and T are sipping jack daniels, but I opt (as always) to avoid the hard liquor. Even beer is a rarity for me these days. The funny thing is that bowl after bowl after bowl and I dont get stoned at ALL. And it was all good dank bud too. The pot just works to mellow out the trip a bit. But I am not stoned. Its really strange. Even on acid, I would have been stoned on top of and independant from the trip from the amount of pot I smoked. But not on AMT I guess. And I dont feel the beer in the slightest. Finally, C and I both decide its time for bed. I curl up in my sleeping bag and toss and turn for a minute or so. Finally somehow I get comfortable. I note that I am still tripping fairly hard, though I have come down a lot since sunset. I close my eyes and surprisingly I fall asleep almost immediately.
I awaken to the sun peeking up over the hill. The first rays are warm on my face. I return to sleep. I awaken again and its about 8:15. The sun is all the way up and its getting quite warm. I get up feeling surprisingly good, although maybe a little cracked out. G and I decide to go for Figures on a Landscape, and we walk out into the wonderland with J and M. I am surprised and delighted that my climbing ability isn't inhibited in the slightest, and G and I cruise with only moderate difficulty to the summit..
So, thoughts on my first AMT experience: I liked it a lot. It felt quite spiritual, althought the drugged feeling doesn't make it sound that way. It felt very hard on my body, but the cracked out feeling the next day didn't last more than a couple of hours. I think it was less hard on my body than MDMA usually is. The visuals start out pretty banal and confused, but they get really pretty over time. The dreaminess is great for being alone in somewhere beautiful. And my curiousity was definately running rampant. I was able to interact very well with those who became bemushroomed, as well, although I was in a much less giddy place than they. I would do it again, at the same dose. I did not take the booster. I dont know if I would want to go higher. Its just too hard on the body. This is NOT a recreational drug. I do not think it would be very fun at a rave, especially since the trip takes so long to develop and lasts so long. The fire at the end was a great way to wind down. Sitting around with g ood company and smoking bowls was a perfect end to my trip. Also doing it before sunrise is a good idea. I was really tired at midnight, and I am glad I had come down so far. Any less than T+18 hours and I might not have slept so well. Ah well apologies for the length of this, but it was probably one of my longest trips ever.
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